Ben and Marian Rolf rent a grand old country mansion as a summer getaway for themselves, their twelve year old son Davey, and Ben's Aunt Elizabeth. They feel they can't turn down the rent deal offered to them by the house's owners, siblings Roz and Arnold Allardyce, despite some reservations. First amongst those reservations, they are to take care of the house on their own, which Ben feels is too big a job, especially for Marian and the interior housekeeping. In Marian's words, the large size of the house is a "waste". And second and perhaps more important amongst those reservations, the Allardyces' aged mother will be staying in her room at the house, the Rolfs who are to provide a tray of food left outside her room three times a day, which Marian vows to take care of on her own, with no other members of the family to go into that isolated wing of the house so as not to disturb Mrs. Allardyce's peace. Upon their arrival at the house for the first day of their stay, they find a note ...
THE FATHER. He knew there was something sinister about the house but he didn't know what it was. THE MOTHER. She was living in the house but she didn't know the house was beginning to live in her. THE LANDLORD. He told them the house would take care of itself. But he didn't tell them it would take care of them too. THE AUNT. She wanted a nice, quiet vacation-but it may be the last one she ever takes. THE LANDLORD'S SISTER. She asked them to take care of her mother but she wouldn't tell them why
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Did You Know?
In the commentary with director Dan Curtis
, he says that he actually read the novel 'Burnt Offerings' years before he got the offer to direct this film. Curtis said that he hated the open-ended conclusion of the novel and, at the time, thought to himself that he would pity anyone who would attempt to make it into a movie. Ironically, years later, the offer to direct the movie version of the novel came to him, and the first thing he did was write an ending that he liked - the one featured in the film. See more
The Kirby vacuum that Karen Black is using on the steps, she turns it off via a switch on the handle. That series of Kirby never had a handle switch, it would have had a toe switch down by the motor. See more
Marian, whether you come with us or not; tomorrow we're going back.
Going back? To what?
To what we had.
We had nothing!
And what do you suppose we've got now?